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Old 06-15-2007, 11:16 PM
Location: Milwaukee
45 posts, read 130,954 times
Reputation: 35


If it is just about him not being motivated (If he doesn't have a problem with understanding the work and doesn't need tutoring) than stop letting him take advantage of you. Take away his privileges, make him get a job, kick him out the house if you have to! (and this is coming from someone not that much older than he is!) He is the only one who can motivate himself, he's an adult now, and your only making it easier for him to have no ambition by enabling him. When he starts being responsible and independent he will understand how important it is for him to graduate and better himself, and he'll understand why you always nagged him so much about it. (Or else he might end up like my cousin. Almost 30 with a child, and still living with his mom with no job!!)

I don't think the problem is gender specific. I think it is common in both sexes and it has to do with parents spoiling their kids and not teaching them to be responsible. Since i've been in college i've notice how much people my age walk all over their parents and how clueless they are when it come to taking care of themselves and providing for themselves. I'm pretty much the only one at school i know that is paying for their education, housing, and all other expenses; and i'm also the only one i know who can cook, clean, do laundry, and manage my money. The problem isn't that they have no motivation and no independence, it's that you let them get away with it.

Last edited by JessD; 06-15-2007 at 11:31 PM..
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Old 06-15-2007, 11:43 PM
743 posts, read 2,038,087 times
Reputation: 236
Thanks, Sam I am.....here's a little more info:

We are a practicing and devout catholic familly. My son will attend a great all-boys catholic independent school next year (comng from a parochial school) because I know he needs the reinforcement of a moral compass. The class sizes aer small, so that will help. But, with his dyslexia and adhd, he still didn't meet any criteria from the state (via public school). He is literally the kind of kid who falls through the cracks....succeeding enough to get by, but not doing poorly enough to fail.

Due to his impulsiveness, I think he may become a "slave to his own desires" if he doesn't have serious formation now.

My husband is very involved in parenting and just great. DH is one of six kids, and you know what's funny?....dh had a real struggle in grade school getting alot of Cs and Ds and always hated school (had trouble w/ reading and probably undiagnosed ADHD...they just called it having "ants in his pants") But, now he is the most educated in his family w/ a Masters degree. He says he was a late bloomer and he somehow started getting focused and motivated....i'm hoping this late blooming might also be genetic...

No, I'm not exactly sure his ADHD is correctly diagnosed. He seems to me a classic case and he was diagnosed w/ the TOVA computer test. We tried meds (Concerta for adhd and Celexa for anxiety, for a short time, but to no aval,so now he's not on any meds and hasn't been for over 2 years now)

Yes, he is a hopeless speller....I told him God invented spellcheck for all the bright, but dyslexic people in the world....

He has actually verbalized to me that he "needs" something. He used that word "need" to desribe his intense desire for it. He says he can't stop thinking about whatever it is he's needing at the time (food, computer, tv, etcJ).

The funny thing is, I have strictly limited electronics and tv viewing w/ all my kids since I think there's no learning value and it is passive and non-creative....it's my special pet peeve (plus content is often objectionable, imo). But, for him, tv/comp etc is like a moth to a flame.

I don't always have junk food or sweets....but, I have them occasionally becasue i have two other children and I think my son needs to learn moderatation. How does someone "teach" moderation?

Years ago, with all the expensive individual psych-educational testing it was discoverd he had low coping skills (not a big surprise, since we already knew that)....but, I don't know what to do about that...how do you increase someon'es resiliency and coping skills??

He is involved in many sports because he is a gifted athlete....whatever sport he plays he ends up in the all-star areana (sometimes w/o much effort) and in this area outside Wash, DC in Northenr Virginia eveything is super, super competitive. I have him involved to boost his self-esteem and so he has some structure and not as much down time (more computer battles, etc)

He does play quite often w/ the neighborhood kids outside....he's a real boys' boy....but some of the 9-12 yo boys are really steeped in the electronics it's a little scarry.

Last thing, my husband's brother is Bipolar, so that's always in the back of my mind. Accordint to many psychologists and psychiatrists bipolar is rarely diagnosed in childhood. But, it is ineresting that the meds never seemed to work for him w/ the adhd....he actaully got more and more anxious, but we saw no difference in focus, attention, etc.

Well, thatnks for listening and all your thoughts. Maybe I can pm you, if that's okay.

Take Care
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Old 06-16-2007, 12:36 AM
Location: Monterey Bay, California -- watching the sea lions, whales and otters! :D
1,906 posts, read 6,124,096 times
Reputation: 2601
Wow, I am impressed -- great posts -- especially Sam I Am!! I don't have a son, I have a daughter, so I am not in the same position. Sam gave some very valuable information!!

I do though work at a juvenile hall, and I was also a therapist for delinquent teens -- so, I've seen a lot.

The best advice I can give, since so much already great advice has been offered, is to not allow any loopholes, and to make sure that you follow through on whatever you say you will do. Only set consequences that you know you will follow through on -- any loophole will make you go back to square one, and take much longer. Be sure to give "rewards" too. Even if it's just a pat on the back for raking the lawn or cleaning up where the garbage cans are.

Be consistent. Be a parent, not a friend. Set rules and follow through if they are broken. One thing I often heard when I worked as a therapist with teens (especially boys), was "My parents don't care about me because they let me do what I want." I realize that may come as a surprise, but kids are like wild stallions, and although they may not admit it to your face, they know they need reining in.

I find it a constant challenge to set up tasks and responsibilities that must be followed through -- because I know that they will not be well-received, yet, on the other hand, I know in the end they will pay off. I had my daughter take classical/jazz guitar lessons for 5 years. She didn't want to do that. I didn't expect her to be a professional musician, but I did expect her to gain a musical skill, and to be disciplined about it. And, it was a consistent schedule, with a really nice teacher whom she adored. Eventually, years down the road, she thanked me -- said that if SHE ever has a kid, she will make them learn a musical instrument too -- even if they say they don't want to. And then she added that lots of kids at school want to learn an instrument, but their parents let them quit when they tell their parents "it's too hard." What they really want is for the parents to push them past that hurdle that they find hard to overcome, and make them continue.

I always found it interesting when delinquent teens would confide that what they wanted most was some structure, some boundaries, and clear and defined expectations -- just the opposite of how they are generally viewed.

I think there is a lot of good information here from people who have gone through a similar situation. That is often how we learn best -- from other people's mistakes (and successes).

Good luck, SandyCo.
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Old 06-16-2007, 03:14 AM
13,460 posts, read 14,445,292 times
Reputation: 7636
Help him to become a man by charging him room and board. If he refuses, give him the opportunity to really experience what life has to offer by showing him the door.

And stick to your guns.
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Old 06-16-2007, 05:14 PM
Location: Curently in Provo, Utah
137 posts, read 381,624 times
Reputation: 37

The thoughts offered by many so far are great, but maybe he has a problem with math? I know Brigham Young University in Provo Utah will allow him to go all through University and never take a math class. All he would need to do is take advanced language instead.

Check out the university site at BYU.edu ; maybe this will help some?

If he knows no other language then he might take a language class until he can pass an advanced language class to fill his math generals requirements!

Last edited by kaiser; 06-16-2007 at 05:16 PM.. Reason: to many errors in spelling
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Old 06-16-2007, 06:03 PM
Location: The Great State of Arkansas
5,981 posts, read 15,895,915 times
Reputation: 7531
For the OP - her son failed Spanish - advanced language may not be in his future. Although the advice may be good, there are "lesser" math classes that can count in some schools that don't require a working knowledge of trigonometry.

All in all, I don't think this young man is ready for college, much less living that far away from home and trying to manage his own life. It's too late for Scouting...he's almost 19 and stuck in neutral. Unless he is suffering from a major depressive disorder, he most likely is suffering from being 19 and not wanting to take on the responsibilities and major life changes of transitioning to an adult, which is sort of what college allows you to do.

If he's not mature enough for college, I will second the previous poster who says get him out NOW before he completely ruins his GPA and ends up taking multiple classes, costing everyone money and time, and having to do things twice. Maybe a year at a relatively low-paying job is what he needs to make him appreciate the educational route...it's definitely the school of hard knocks, but who knows? Maybe he will find something he can segue into with an associate's degree or no degree at all, or maybe he will find he really just wants to be an electrician or a chef or work in the hospitality industry(which I would have been THRILLED for). Even in today's world, there are those simply not cut out for higher academics. It may make getting somewhere financially a little bit harder but not impossible.....but he really is going to have to break the tie to computer games. Very few jobs have this as a requirement or even an option.

Unfortunately, this young man may have some issues that need to be addressed professionally - having your father in prison for molesting your sister is a pretty heavy load to handle, and this all apparently went down when he was 9 or so - a very impressionable age. SandyCo, you may have already gone that route...of course, unless he is willing to go along with the therapy program, it is going to be fruitless. We didn't find that out until later in the thread, and it may have a huge bearing on where he is mentally. He didn't have a great father for a mentor - quite the opposite - and there's no hero status for him to emulate. And Sandy, you are quite right - it is indeed a good thing that you have a male friend, but it's just not the same as a dad.

You mentioned his grandparents in an earlier post - I don't think he needs to ask them for money for college without the understanding that it is a LOAN and not a gift. Sign papers. I don't care if his grandparents are the Rockefellers, he needs to start assuming responsibility for his life. If he flunks out and still has to pay, that's a lesson with a large price tag on it, but maybe equal to a year of college...you play, you pay. If at the end of his college career they choose to gift a certain portion of what they have invested to him because of vast strides he's made, then it's win/win for everyone - but anything you earn with your own money and your own determination is worth more than anything you are handed, and he is definitely at the age to learn that the money tree went the way of the Easter bunny and Santa Claus. We all earn our spot in the world unless we are frozen in neutral - and I think that's what has happened here. This boy isn't ready for college and he's bit off more than he can chew. Perhaps a summer and another semester of working will give him the maturity he needs to succeed. I doubt many people want a career of flipping burgers, but sometimes you have to flip the burgers to realize you don't want that for the next 46 years. If he doesn't have it figured out by the new year, I'd say fish or cut bait and let him make his own way.

I did the same thing you are doing -for completely different reasons. My mother died when I was 17 and my sister was 8 - I wanted my kids to be kids for as long as they could because I had to do a lot of growing up fast after age 13 while I watched my mother die. My kids managed to take it to the outer limits of reality, and I allowed it....and I did everyone a disservice. If I had it to do over....well, if frogs had wings they wouldn't bump their butt every time they jump. You don't get the chance to do it over, so do what you think is right and what you can live with the first time around and listen to your little voice - it will tell you when enough is enough.
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Old 06-17-2007, 08:04 AM
Location: Cincy
252 posts, read 859,921 times
Reputation: 104
Default What is it with boys????????????

Originally Posted by beth ann View Post
Wow....my son is only 11, but, I see where he's headed, and I'm petriefied:

1) He underachieves at school (we have tutors, private school, etc. He has dyslexia and adhd)

2) He wants to continually be w/ friends (of course, we limit that...he seems to prefer his friends to us, his family, even at this age, and always has)

3) He's addicted to video games/comp/tv/all electronics (we severly limit that, but he tries to get to that in EVERY spare moment....he even sneaks it at times when he can)

4) He's very self-centered and lazy (He sees everything from HIS perspectie and chronicall complains about doing homework, chores, etc)

5) We also have a "highly motivated golden girl" child who is his polar opposite (I try not to compare....but, come on....how could they be this different

6) He doesn't like to work or have a challenge (he asked me once what could he study in college where when he graduates he could make a lot of money but not really have to work hard)

I am worried already about his future and how he will get through HS and college and life, in general. Your posts here gave me even more cause for worry.

Does anyone have any practical advice or suggestions for addiction? I really have begun to think my son has an "addictive personality"....I see it w/ video games and also w/ junk food or sweets (even though he's very skinny, he can't seem to control himself when we have such food in the house).

I am trying to take "preventive" measures.

Any insights would be appreciated.


I have been reading these posts, and it is SO scary!!!! The common thread seems to be that 99% of these posts are about our sons! I too have a son, who is entering highschool this fall, and we are facing the same challenges. Also, pretty much everyone I know with a son between the ages of 12 and 16, has the same story...what gives? My son, will never be a straight A student, but with some effort, he could definitely keep B's.....but he is a full time job for me. He too has no motivation, only wants to play video games, and NOTHING is ever his fault! I have told him that once he enters highschool, he is creating a permanent record, but he is SO unmotivated...Every school year, the first qtr he gets half A's, and half Bs, by second qtr, maybe one A, few Bs, and one C, third qtr,...you get my drift, by the last quarter, we are scrambling hoping he doesnt get a D, and this is with me constantly monitoring his work, checking with the teachers, etc...My son, will even do an assignment, and lose it by the time, he gets to school, so then he turns it in late, and only gets partial credit, Thank God, because when I was in school, they didnt cut us slack like they do today...Unless you were sick, your assignment was due, and there were no exceptions! We are really pulling our hair out, and we too have daughters, and we NEVER have to remind them, check on anything related to school, etc...He thinks he wants to be video game designer, which I would support, however, I cant seem to get it through his thick skull, that you need a degree, and you will have to take higher level math etc..and if your grades are not good, you wont get accepted in any major related to computers..
A lot of folks have told me that the lightbulb comes on later for boys, but reading these posts, makes me think otherwise.....
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Old 06-17-2007, 10:55 AM
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
6,203 posts, read 15,010,458 times
Reputation: 7951
Good points, SamIAm!

Let me go a little deeper into the family history, because it will shed even more light on things. First of all, I left my kids with my ex when we got divorced back in 1990. They were 5 and not quite 2 years old. Of course, if I knew now what I had known then, I never would have left them with him! My ex had beaten me down so much emotionally and verbally that I really thought I was a terrible wife and mother, that the kids would be better off with him. Add to it that I was only 24, and had never had a chance to really date or have fun, and I wanted to experience some of that. (I'm trying to be as honest as possible, so I have to own up to my own immaturity at that time.) Also, I knew he'd never pay me a dime of child support, and I couldn't survive on only what I made.

A year or so later, my ex (who found someone else only a month after I moved out) and the kids, plus his new girlfriend, moved to Reno. For the next few years, I stayed in touch with my kids mostly through phone calls and visits three times a year (their birthdays and Christmas). In the end I decided to move to Reno, because I missed them so much. I especially missed my daughter; I hardly even knew my son!

Before I could move there, though, they moved to a town only 100 miles from me. I was overjoyed to be able to see the kids more often. I had them with me for one weekend, and when I took them back, I mildly mentioned that our daughter's teeth were pretty crooked, and maybe we should think about getting braces for her? My ex's response: "I can fix her teeth." Huh?! Well, I drove home after stopping by an outlet mall out there, and when I got back, there were six messages on my answering machine! My daughter had decided she wanted to come live with me. She was 11 years old then. I was living in a one-bedroom apartment. How could I refuse? I went back to pick her up a couple of days later. (I have since worked out that my ex said to her, "Maybe you should go live with your mother", never expecting that I would actually agree! He thought I'd refuse, and then he could tell her that I never wanted her, etc. He was truly evil.)

She was with me for over a year, before she told me about the molestation. I went ballistic (who wouldn't?!), and set the wheels in motion to get that jerk arrested, and get custody of her brother. This was very complicated, because by this point, the ex and everyone (he was remarried by this point to someone different, who had two small kids of her own) had moved to Phoenix, but the molestation had occurred in Reno! I tried so hard to spare my son the sight of his dad being arrested, but in the end I couldn't. After this happened, my daughter and I drove to Phoenix to pick up my son. He was nine years old and had no idea what was going on. The first thing he said to me was: "You're a f---ing b---- and I'll never believe anything you say!" and then he started crying. I felt so bad, but even then I told him that although he could be angry with me, he couldn't talk to me like that.

We had over a year of Hell after that. He wouldn't mind me, he wouldn't brush his teeth or go to bed, he kicked a hole in his bedroom door... I got him into counseling immediately, and we went every week for two years. I could restrain him at 9 years old, but I was projecting into the future. What about when he was 14 or 15? It would be impossible! Part of the problem is that he had nothing with his dad. They moved so often that he never had time to make any friends or even keep his toys. Therefore, taking things away as punishment wouldn't have worked with him.

To protect him, we didn't tell him the details about the molestation until he was 14, so he had a little trouble believing that something really happened. I used to have daydreams of giving him up to foster care, until I read about how awful that system really is here in California, and then I realized he was going nowhere.

It took time for us to build a relationship, no doubt about it. I don't know if anything happening now has its roots in the past (having to go live with a mother you hardly know, seeing your dad be arrested, etc.). It's possible - or maybe he would have been this way, anyway. I don't know.

Since this post is so long, I'll end it here, and address the other points (about education, etc.) in the next one.

Last edited by SandyCo; 06-17-2007 at 11:06 AM..
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Old 06-17-2007, 11:02 AM
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
6,203 posts, read 15,010,458 times
Reputation: 7951
The problem he had with his Spanish class is that he took three years of German in high school. German and Spanish are completely different, but apparently, every time he'd try to think of the Spanish phrase or word, the German ones would pop into his head. I'm not sure how you go about fixing that.

The math classes are at a higher pace than he was used to in high school, but what he told me yesterday was that he's having trouble concentrating on school. He's had other "drama", like with girls, etc. He's never had a girlfriend, I know he wants one, so he's struggling a bit with that.

I did lay down the law for him, though. I said I expected a "C" average from him next semester, which is more than generous! If he doesn't have a "C" average at the end of next January, then he has two months to either start paying me rent or move out. That's it. I was very clear about it. He's still against working in fast food, but I'm going to keep on him about that. He began getting frustrated and said, "Why don't you just leave me alone?" My response: "I've tried that for the past year, and look what happened!" Or didn't happen. Then I reminded him that if he were really trying, he'd be taking classes in summer school. "I need a break." A break from what?! (Yeah, I'm a little frustrated...)

He is thinking about doing something else, like working on cars for a living. That would be fine, too, as long as he does something worthwhile. We'll see what happens; I'll keep you guys posted. Thanks so much for the thoughtful replies, though. You're all awesome!!!
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Old 06-17-2007, 11:15 AM
Location: Kirkwood, DE and beautiful SXM!
12,054 posts, read 19,640,051 times
Reputation: 31734
Your 19 year old is legally an adult, even though we all know that he really isn't. He should not only pay rent if he continues to live with you, but also pay a portion of the utilities. You might want to save part or all of that money to give to him when he actually grows up and is ready to purchase a home. If he cannot pay his share, he needs to find some other place to live. That will be very hard on you but probably the best thing you could do for him. He won't grow up until he has to.
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